Richard Rodriguez Paper

Topics: Spanish language, Mexican Spanish, Languages of Spain Pages: 2 (717 words) Published: February 8, 2012
Richard Rodriguez Summary Paper
Language is a psycho-social thought process by which we communicate and interpret the people and community around us. Richard Rodriguez demonstrates his childhood relationship with language in his essay “Private Language, Public Language“. The essay is filled with numerous characteristics of language as seen through the eyes of a grown man reflecting on his childhood thoughts. While as a grown man he embraces English as his new private language, Rodriguez considered Spanish as private and personal to him as a child. To Rodriguez Spanish is a family language to be used at home or in the comforts of his own people. Meanwhile he viewed English as a language of “the gringos”, only to be spoken publicly. Family, community, sound and syntax are characteristics Rodriguez uses to define his psycho-social relationship with language. Rodriguez describes family as a characteristic of language that has an intimate nature that is unique among one’s family. In the latter part of the fifth paragraph Rodriguez states “It is not possible for a child - any child - ever to use his family’s language in school” He describes his family language of Spanish and his family’s household practices such as raising chickens and painting the house yellow as things that made his family stand apart from the community he grew up in. In the community he grew up in Rodriguez was surrounded by “Gringos”. The community was filled with “gringos“ that he looked at as belonging in society. This made him feel like an outsider because his most familiar tongue was not being spoken in a country where English dominates. Instantly he felt like a foreigner in his own country. Eventually he got over this stigma and was embarrassed by his childhood fears of not being accepted. The very sounds and syntax of the English and Spanish languages characterize how Rodriguez perceived whether the conversation to be public or private. In paragraph nine,...
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